Date: Thursday, 1 December 2022, 06:00 pm
Location: Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, Französische Straße 32, 10117 Berlin
Moderated by: Julia Propp, Senior Project Manager, Robert Bosch Academy
Speaker(s):
  • Akwugo Emejulu, Professor of Sociology, University of Warwick; and Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow, Robert Bosch Academy
  • Sara Abbas, Activist; and PhD candidate, Freie Universität Berlin

Agenda

5:30 pm Welcome
6:00 pm Discussion
7:30 pm Reception

About

The worldwide Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 were an important albeit short-lived experiment in solidarity. In response to the murder of George Floyd in the United States, ordinary people rose up in horror and disgust to rally against police violence and anti-Black racism. Crucially, protestors connected the violence they witnessed in the US with the brutality practiced in their own countries. George Floyd was put in conversation with other Black victims of state violence: Oury Jalloh in Germany, Adama Traoré in France, and Sarah Reed in England. 

Those large protests have now disappeared – but that is to be expected. However, the anti-racist and feminist organizers and activists, whose work long predates the uprisings of 2020, carry on with their vital but often ignored work. 

This debate will explore why, given the ability to mobilize the public to both see, feel, and take action against the violence of racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination, long-standing anti-racist and feminist activists struggle to be taken seriously when they raise these issues in their respective activist networks, organizations and coalitions. Drawing on her work mapping women of color’s activism in Europe, Akwugo Emejulu will argue that focusing on emotional expressions of solidarity can fatally undermine the pragmatic work required to make meaningful change in activist spaces. Decoupling emotions from solidarity allows activists to make practical changes to their decision-making processes and organizational forms which may well create possibilities for developing genuinely democratic, intersectional, and egalitarian spaces for radical social change.

A light meal and drinks will be served after the debate.